Saturday, February 20, 2016

Book Review 37. The Inn Between

The Inn Between
Book: The Inn Between
Author: Marina Cohen
Genre: Middle Grade Horror
Pages: 208
Published: March 2nd, 2016

This ebook was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Synopsis: The Shining meets "Hotel California" in this supremely creepy middle grade novel about the bizarre things that happen to two girls stranded at a desert inn.
Eleven-year-old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned
When Quinn's best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara's parents and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lurking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara's family before it's too late?

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

"Welcome to Inn Between. We've been expecting you."

Once again, me writing a review over a month after reading the book! I need to buckle down and write some of these...

Quinn, a pre-teen girl, is going on vacation with her best friend and her best friend's family. On the long road trip to the West Coast, they decide to spend the night at a hotel called The Inn Between. Yet as Quinn settles in, she can't help but feel like something is wrong, and is plagued by some of her past regrets (which, for a pre-teen girl, she has buckets of, let me tell you!).

I must say, I did not see the ending coming. The last fifth of the book was by far the best part. Everything is so mysterious the whole way through, and although in some ways you can see the ending coming, it just pulls everything together so well. It didn't really make me content, but it explain just what it needed to and left you wondering what happens next. It has one of those great endings that makes it so I'd be mad if there was a sequel, since it worked out so neatly, but I desperately want to know what happens to the characters next.

Unfortunately, not the whole book was as great as the last bit. I get that this is a middle grade book, but it just felt really short, like not a lot happened. The few scary events that did happen were just over so soon. Either the events should have been longer with more detail, or more should have happened. I got to the end of the book, which I was enjoying, and was just kind of like, "that's it? Really? It was just starting to get good!" Still, I recognise this book is for younger readers, so that's not a totally justifiable complaint.

It took a while for things to get scary. This is a horror novel, but the first two-thirds was just mildly building up the atmosphere (which was more suspicious than scary), and once things finally started rolling and getting scary, the book ends!

The parts that were frightening, however, were really spooky. Enough to give my inner 10-year-old the shivers. There was this one scene with a television that was the first thing (at least for me) to was actually creepy, and if the whole book was just like that I'd give it five stars.

I admit, these complaints might just be because I'm older than the intended audience, and the parts I found boring could very well be terrifying for the younger crowd. I remember books like this being scarier, but I've just been exposed to so much more since then.

This book was also odd, but not in a bad way, because Quinn has such a tragic backstory for a middle-class eleven-year-old American white girl in a middle-grade novel that it honestly caught me off-guard. It was far darker than any horror aspect of the book, and felt a little out-of-place. It did bring in an intriguing backstory and some interesting character development though, so I'll let it slide.

If you're looking for a creepy (but not too creepy) middle-grade novel, you should consider looking into this one! It's an easy read, just compelling enough to make sure you make it to that wonderful end.


(PS, I just noticed this, this book for late elementary/middle schoolers is described as a mix between Hotel California meets the Shining. Why would those two things prompt any twenty-first century kid to pick this book up? It just stuck me as kind of silly.)

Some other reviews for "The Inn Between" (may contain spoilers):
Lazy Day Literature
Books, Cats, and Caffeine

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